[box] It’s been quite some time since I’ve brought you an Author Spotlight, but I wanted to make sure my readers get an opportunity to hear from Barbara Kois. She is a writer, an editor, an author coach, a corporate communication consultant, and a speechwriter. A true wordsmith with a love for the beauty of language and the power of ideas, she aims for clear, concise and memorable writing that includes the occasional touch of humor. She’s known for the ability to take complicated information and make it understandable. Barbara has written or co-written eight books, dozens of magazine articles, and more than 600 articles for the Chicago Tribune. She holds a BA in Communications, Summa Cum Laude, from Wheaton College in Illinois. She can be reached at Barbara.Kois@gmail.com.[/box]
ADG: Tell me a bit about yourself. How long have you been writing? What types of writing do you do?
BK: As with many other writers, writing has just been something I’ve been compelled to do from childhood on. And I’ve always been a voracious reader. I vividly remember getting an A on my Frosty Comes Back story in sixth grade, which my mother says someone stole from me and made into a TV show. I loved to write. Whenever something great or tragic happens in my life, I process it or celebrate it by writing about it. But I didn’t really start publishing my writing or doing it as a career until my three children were all in school. I write about many different topics from help available for returning soldiers with PTSD to the challenges of giving birth at home in South Dakota! I also write about municipal planning and local government issues, as well as how to improve one’s writing. But one strong passion I have is for struggling people, and I have known a number of them in my life and have struggled myself. I love to write about people who have overcome great difficulty, and I long to inspire and encourage others to turn their trials and heartbreaks into victories as well.
ADG: Why did you decide to become a writer?
BK: In addition to always wanting to read and write, I am naturally curious – I guess some would use the word nosy, but it’s really more being interested in things and wanting to find out more so I can understand them. One of the things I love about writing is that if you ask enough questions and dig enough for information, you can learn about almost any topic well enough to write about it. I haven’t tried this approach for how to do brain surgery or anything like that, but for many topics it works well.
ADG: What is the one piece of writing advice you wish you’d had at the beginning of your career?
BK: I thought if you worked real hard and read a lot and developed your craft and people responded to what you had to say, you would be a successful writer. Sort of like, “Write it well and they will come.” But I learned that you need a platform, and how great it is that today with the Internet and social media, we can build followings and platforms in countless ways. It used to be that you had to speak to thousands around the country or the world or have a radio or TV show to build a platform. So understanding this part of writing would have been helpful to me.
ADG: What are you currently working on? Any special projects.
BK: I’m developing the concept of the ABCs of Praise and Prayer book that has been out for about year and has sold about 9,000 copies. It’s a short, easy-to-use book that goes through the alphabet using words with each letter to praise and worship God. It’s a simple thing that I’ve done during my commute to work and it gets me started off right and helps set the tone for the day. Reader response has been great because it helps them praise and worship God even if they’re pressed for time – and who isn’t today? A number of readers have said they think it’s great to use with children. I also recently completed a book with two friends called Girl Power – Nothing Stands Between You and Your Dreams . . . Except Maybe You.
ADG: What do you have coming out next? What do your fans have to look forward to?
BK: I just completed a Spanish version and also the ABCs of Praise and Prayer for Children coloring book. I’m excited about both of these.
ADG: How can my readers find out more about you and your work?
My website is barbarakois.com. I also have a number of books on Amazon.com and some are available through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I’d love to hear from your readers at Barbara.Kois@gmail.com.